D sent a letter to X and Y, defaming X and Y. The butler opened and read the letter. X and Y claimed that this was publication to a 3rd party. CA held that since it is no part of a butler’s duties to open his mistresses’ letters, his doing so could not make P liable for defamation.
Lord Reading CJ: Letters sent, albeit unsealed ones, are not opened by intermediaries in the “ordinary course of business”. This is not the same as a defamatory postcard, which does publish its contents to all who handle it.
Bray J: Since there was not a “high degree of probability” that the letter would be opened and read before reaching X and Y, it cannot be said to have published its claims.